A pilot wireless broadband scheme was launched by Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, in Co Louth today. The public-private initiative is one of several being undertaken across the country.
Digiweb, a Dundalk-based company, has been awarded over €66,000 to carry out trials on the technology, which may have the potential to deliver wireless broadband internet access to thousands of customers. The Louth project is the latest in a series of pilot programmes the minister has announced in Dublin, Cork, Mayo, Sligo, Galway and Limerick. The trials of what is known as wireless local area network (LAN) will continue throughout this year.
“These trials play a vital role in allowing high-speed communications access without the necessity of installing fibre optic cables or wires. The access is via wireless technology,” said the minister. Ahern went on to say that some locations in Ireland may be better suited to internet access via wireless technology than through wired broadband.
Digiweb’s WLAN project is centred on the larger towns of Dundalk and Drogheda and includes Ardee, Blackrock, Knockbridge and the surrounding hinterland. The project, with a mix of rural and urban zones, also incorporates both local residential and business customers and is intended to represent a realistic test bed for the trailing of WLAN technologies.
“The WLAN initiative and the support of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources has been a strong stimulus to the introduction of genuine high-speed, low-cost internet access to Louth,” said Colm Piercy, managing director of Digiweb. “Building on the momentum which this initiative has created we are pleased to announce that we are now in the planning stages of broadband services delivery to the neighbouring counties of Cavan, Monaghan and Meath and expect to be announcing broadband availability within further towns in the near future.
Digiweb’s new service will offer always-on internet connection to home or business users via an antenna unit attached near the roof to receive the signal. Prices start at €45 per month for a 512Kbps service and rise to €369 per month for a 2Mbps service.
By Dick O’Brien